What's the most expensive houseplant you've ever seen ?

ArehbellaMay 3, 2012

The most expensive plant I've ever seen is this bonsai at my local nursery :

It's 1000 dollars, kinda funny that it's been on sale for years.

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plantomaniac08(8)

Goodness... I can see why that bonsai is $1000... the "most expensive" plant I've seen was also a bonsai, but not even close to that price, about $50 for one at a local nursery.

Planto

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 10:56AM
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birdsnblooms

Unless it sold, every so often, a seller on Ebay posts his Jade Tree..The tree is huge.
I believe he wants/ed 9,999.00.
Others have seen the add, (especially people on Cactus & Succulent Forem) so perhaps someone will come foreward to verify.

I've seen Bonsai's as high as 6,000.00. Wonder who'd buy a plant at that price?? lol Toni

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 12:47PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

If I had a proper place to show it and someone to care for it properly I wouldn't hesitate to spend a thousand for the bosai pictured.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 1:38PM
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elkay_gw

Yep, bonsai here, too. I saw some ranging in price from $200 to $1000.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 2:12PM
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scsva(7/VA)

A Hoya Macrophylla Variegated sold for about $300 on Ebay when it was first introduced to the market here.

Susan

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 5:46PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

There are many bonsai trees bought/sold for prices in excess of one million dollars. In other countries, patrons purchase the trees as investments and entrust them to the care of their favorite (bonsai) master. It's very common for the trees winning their category at bonsai shows in Europe & Asia, especially Asia, to never have been touched (worked on) by the owner - only the master or perhaps one of his favored apprentices, depending on the value of the tree.

I have been trained as a bonsai judge, most recently having judged the Detroit area show last year, so I look at trees with a critical eye. Unless someone wants to know what they are, I'm just going to say that the tree pictured above has several fatal flaws that limit its actual value to probably something less than $200 or so - depending on how valuable the pot is.

There is (was) some goof on ebay trying to unload "the biggest jade in the world" for $500,000 ...... and it's not very big. I've actually seen larger plants in containers. The cacti/succulent group will remember the conversation on that forum, I'm sure.

Al

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 6:25PM
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elkay_gw

I would like to know, Al.

Also, how long did you have to train to be a bonsai judge?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 7:46PM
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strobiculate

Monstera deliciosa Marmorata, golden variegated monstera. $175.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:40PM
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dan4279

I'd also be interested in knowing, Al.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:47PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I have more than 20 years experience as a bonsai practitioner, which is really primarily what the clubs consider sufficient qualification. I lead workshops, do demos, speak on various topics, and have had 3 training sessions with a world class judge, the end result of which was some sort of certificate I've never really looked at & no one ever asked to see. ;-)

The serious flaws are A) very poor root buttressing (poor root flare/base), B) the radical S-curve that immediately identifies the tree as a cookie-cutter import, C) poor taper and reverse taper. The tree's trunk is thicker near the S-curve than it is at the base (reverse taper), and there is virtually no taper (other than the reverse taper) in the lower 3/4 of the tree. Bonsai trees, other than the literati style, should taper quickly and smoothly from the soil level to the top of the tree. The root emerging from high on the trunk is a serious flaw, but if it's removed it will accentuate the reverse taper. D) Radical change in taper about 3/4 of the way up the trunk (this can be fixed, but the tree would have to be shortened to rid it of the heaviness just below the top of the tree. E) The branches should be left to grow unrestrained - they are much too weak on the lower part of the tree and too small (in diameter) in relation to the trunk size. Also, there is a very heavy branch near the top of the tree on the left. The lowest branch should be the heaviest. The branch needs to be removed and another grown out in its stead. F) The tree is MUCH too tall in relation to the thickness of the trunk. The tree should be about 6X the trunk diameter in ht, as a rule of thumb.

If this tree was put in the hands of an accomplished bonsai practitioner, he/she would likely ground layer the tree above the offending root coming off the trunk. This would entail unpotting the tree and planting it deeply in the ground to grow a new root system higher on the trunk. This is a young tree I did that to because the roots were horrible - notice the wire tourniquet still visible:


Notice how evenly the roots are spaced around the tree and how they emerge horizontally? For bonsai trees, the root base is everything - the feature all practiced bonsai artists look for.

Here's another tree I'm preparing to layer off because of poor roots - predictable in a hornbeam



It will take 2 years for the layer to be completed, I'll sever the tree just below the drilled indentations (which I'll fill with rooting gel) at the next repotting and I'll have another very young tree on a perfect root base.

G) I don't know why the rocks are on the soil surface. I suspect they are to help secure the tree due to a very weak root system, but I'm not sure. At any rate, rocks are not used without reason that relates to the composition in traditional bonsai. A rock might be strategically placed in a subtle manner to cover for a one sided root base or to offer a sense of balance in (for instance) a slant style tree that might appear in danger of toppling if it wasn't for the counterbalancing appearance of the rock mass. Technically, the rocks aren't a flaw in the tree, but a serious presentation flaw.

If I was given the choice between the tree & the pot, I'd take the pot in a heart beat.

Al

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 9:46PM
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plantomaniac08(8)

Al,
You should write a book if you haven't already. :)

Planto

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 5:50PM
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dan4279

I agree. I know I just learned alot. Thank you.

Al, can you perform that procedure on any type of tree? That's very interesting.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 8:43PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm not sure. I've only been doing it for the last 5 years or so. The tourniquet technique has been around for quite a while, but as far as I know, drilling the evenly spaced holes and filling them with rooting hormone before repotting is an original idea, as I've never seen it done before. I've probably layered off 20-30 trees like that with no failures. Some trees might take a little longer than 2 years, but there is a way to speed up the actual layering process by applying the tourniquet in the summer prior to actually getting the layer under way.

The tourniquet slows the flow of photosynthate moving down through phloem tissues, and it builds up in high concentrations immediately above the constriction. If you wait for the bulge to appear, a sign there is a LOT of stored energy in that area, the roots should just about JUMP out of the area when you finally start the layer. The same technique could easily be employed for houseplant candidates for air or ground layers.

Apologies, Arabella. I realize we're too far off the tracks & I beg a pardon.

Al

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:24PM
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squidy(8a)

The most expensive plant I can remember seeing personally is the biggish staghorn fern at a nearby nursery. I think it's about $200.
They have bonsai too, but nothing that large or nice.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:49AM
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emerald1951

Hi..theres a greenhouse not to far from me and they do lots of huge plant for christmas..last year they had poinsettia 5'tall and I'd guess 6'across, priced at over $200...they were fantastic looking...and their a throw away plant very few try to keep them and rebloom them..linda

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 9:26AM
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summersunlight(5b)

I definitely have seen good sized Kentia palms going for over $100 (but I hear they grow slowly so that price might actually be warranted).

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:36AM
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Arehbella

Interesting info on the Bonsai, I wonder if it hasn't been sold because of that.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:10PM
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rushrulz(TX)

I'm not surprised that the most expensive would be a bonsai. Even the cheapest bonsai aren't cheap, and for good reason.

In answer to the question, I have no idea. A nursery near me is selling no-name plumerias for $90, which is ridiculous, but those aren't houseplants, and in sheer numbers, that's not that high.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 4:43AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Here's a little number that sold for $1,300,000 (1.3 million dollars).

Al

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:36PM
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birdsnblooms

Al, I clicked on the link 'sold for 1,300,00,' twice. It brings me to GW Home Page, lol. Toni

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 2:53PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

What a dip! (me). Try again ....

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:40PM
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birdsnblooms

Al, perhaps there are larger, but the Takamatsu Bonsai is the largest I'd ever seen.

It's a lovely Bonsai, but a little too much for my budget, lol.

About 5-6-years ago, you posted pics of your Bonsai collection..one was layered in various color sand. Do you know which I mean?

Those you posted were beautiful, and to be honest, and this is only my opinion, but yours were nicer than the 1.3 million bonsai.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:14PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I sure don't remember - sorry.
Al

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Joe1980(5)

I'll chime in about the most expensive plant I saw. It's a good story, well, for me it is. Anyways, I have been into plants now for about 14 years, and have always loved tree-like succulents, such as jades and portulacarias. I don't have a big collection at all, but I cherish the ones I have. Ever since seeing a picture of a variegated jade, I knew I HAD to have one. Problem is, I saw this picture in 1999, and have never seen one of these jades in person, let alone for sale. Well, last summer, while browsing around in a large greenhouse that I've been to dozens of times, I decided to go past the tropicals and succulents, and browse around in the annual flower section, which I have no interest in. Upon walking WAY to the back of this large annual section, there in the bowels of the greenhouse sits a variegated jade. I was super exited, however, this jade was 7 feet tall, with a 12" diameter trunk, and had a price tag of $799.99. Obviously, this is too expensive, and also too big for my tastes. But, I asked if I could take a leaf to root my own plant, and the guy said "sure, but you would be better off with a stem cutting", and broke a small chunk off for me. Well, I rooted the cutting successfully, not that jades are a challenge, and this spring repotted it now that it has a vigorous root system.

So, after all that babbling, I can sum it up like this: Not only did I find the most expensive plant I've ever seen, I got my variegated jade, and it only took 12 years!

Joe

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:43PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

...... and I admire you for asking for the cutting. I haven't seen Mike around lately, but he sent me a cool variegated jade last summer that, now that it has a good foothold, I expect to take off this summer. I forget the name - Hummel's Sunset? Mike ......? It has yellow and green variegation with red racing stripes on the margins. ;-)

Al

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:52PM
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Joe1980(5)

Yes, he also recently posted a pic of one that was dark green and lime green, and I MUST have one. Hopefully before 12 years this time. Around here in Wisconsin, it seems that all we get is the plain-jane plants; none of the special or unique varieties.

Joe

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 10:32PM
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birdsnblooms

Al, actually, it was via an email.

Joe, do you order online? You can find variegated Jades from 6.99 and up.
Hirt's Nursery has lovely plant at very reasonable prices. Hirt's sells on Ebay and Amazon. Toni

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 1:27PM
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tropicofcancer(6b)

Wow, for that 1.3 million dollar bonsai. Any idea how much it may weigh? How are these moved around, worked on. I would imagine a fork-lift would be needed. A while back I had seen a video of a bonsai master working on a huge juniper held by a crane while being pruned using chainsaws.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 2:46PM
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Joe1980(5)

I've always been skeptical of ordering plants online, because I like to actually examine what I am buying. I always figured there's a good chance I'll be disappointed.

Joe

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 5:10PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

ToC- probably between 125-150 lbs with the pot. Larger bonsai, called 'dai', are measured in the number of hands required to carry them, with 8 hands being about the largest a bonsai can be. I'm guessing the one pictured is a 6 hand tree. The pot alone is probably antique or custom made and worth several thousand dollars.

Beauty that will stagger you - I promise!

Al

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 8:03PM
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tropicofcancer(6b)

Wow again. I have a feeling it was Kimura in the video that I saw back in 2000 or so. In those days I used to frequent newsgroups such as rec.arts.bonsai which is pretty much defunct these days. There were many fine people on that group and the one I remember well is Herb Gustafson. Few years later I had to put my bonsai love on hold and last year I got back into it. Still a newbie to bonsai and thanks tapla for being a very good teacher on this board.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 12:21PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

When you said 'chainsaw', I immediately thought of Mr Kimura.

Thanks for the kind comment ..... appreciated.

Al

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 3:48PM
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